Select Committee on European Communities Report


Letter from the Rt Hon Gavin Strang MP, Minister for Transport, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

  You will recall that we have been keeping your Committee informed of developments following the publication in 1996 of the Commission's White Paper on air traffic management (ATM). The most recent correspondence culminated in your letter to me of 29 October 1997.[20]

  As you will know from my letter of 25 June advising you of the negotiating mandate for a European Aviation Safety Authority, a Decision was taken at the Transport Council on 18 June for the Commission to negotiate Community membership of the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL).

  The mandate includes negotiating directives relating to the Community's accession to EUROCONTROL, the purpose for which is described as being to assist EUROCONTROL in achieving its objectives as set out in the Revised EUROCONTROL Convention, notably to bring about a single and efficient body for ATM policy making in Europe.

  As is usual during negotiations to join international organisations, a Special Committee of representatives from Member States will be formed to oversee the negotiations. It will be for the Austrian Presidency and its successors to chair this committee. There is no fixed timetable for the negotiations but, in any case, the Community cannot accede to EUROCONTROL until the Revised Convention, signed on 27 June 1997, has been ratified by all 27 Member States of EUROCONTROL; my understanding is that ratification is likely to take several years.

  Additionally, the Community has still to agree, through a report to a future Transport Council, the internal working arrangements which will arise from membership.

  I shall continue to keep you informed of key developments concerning this dossier.

7 July 1998

20   Printed in Correspondence with Ministers, 11th Report, Session 1997-98, p35. Back

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